How to Repair Cosmetic Cracks in Your Brick and Mortar Foundation

Over time, your brick foundation may develop cracks. If the cracks are cosmetic, you can repair the cracked brickwork yourself. Here are some tips for touching up the brickwork around your foundation.

1. Make Sure the Cracks Don't Indicate Structural Damage

If the cracks are just tiny cracks in the mortar between the bricks, that is usually not a problem. Additionally, if you see a crack in an L-shape around a block of bricks, that is also usually not a problem, especially if the cracks taper into small cracks.

However, if the cracks are quite large (big enough for you to fit a pinky finger inside them) or if they are long and horizontal, that could be a sign of structural damage. In these cases, you should consult with a foundation repair specialist.

2. Decide If You Are Going to Remove Any Bricks or Mortar

If you have assessed the cracks and determined that the damage is only cosmetic, you need to decide if you need to remove anything. For example, if the mortar around the crack is very crumbly, you may want to chisel it out and replace it. Similarly, if some of the bricks are falling apart, you may want to remove them as well.

3. Replace Missing Bricks

Whether you have missing bricks or you have pulled out bricks, you need to replace them. Find bricks that are designed to be used for foundations and place them into your foundation wall as needed. If you haven't already removed the mortar in these areas, you may need to chisel some out at this point to make room for the new bricks.

4. Patch Up the Mortar

Once all the bricks are in place, it's time to apply new mortar. You can buy mortar and mix it up yourself. When it's ready, apply it using a trowel. Basically, you want to put mortar around any bricks that are loose, and you also want to spread it around into any cracks that have formed.

Make sure to really push the mortar in. You want to create a waterproof seal between your bricks. Also use the trowel to level off the mortar as much as possible. You don't want the mortar sticking up past the level of the bricks.

5. Remove Excess Mortar

Finally, let the mortar dry. When it is dry, you can use a wet sponge to remove any unwanted bits of mortar from around the bricks. Basically, the water liquefies some of the mortar so it just wipes off.